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Final Failures: The last Isles-Rags game of this Miserable Season

By Danny Radical

April 5 will be the last meeting of the 2017-18 hockey season between the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers. I'm sure I speak for many Islander fans when I say that this game, as well as the end of the season, can't come soon enough.

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Historically, Islanders- Rangers games have always been a boost in the 7 month schedule of the regular season. An Islander win against the Rangers always gives me a little extra pep in my step the next day, and another reason to smile. However, just like many other good things, Garth Snow ruins this game as well.

Howso? Here's a few reasons. Even though the Islanders have been dominant against the Rangers for the last few seasons, sporting a 13-3 record since Jaroslav Halak has been an Islander, I'm not looking forward to the fact that this is indeed a meaningless game. Isles win, they still miss the playoffs in a year where they had a rookie defenseman grow into an offensive talent, a rookie center pretty much a lock to win the Calder Trophy, career highs in points for Josh Bailey (yes I puked in my mouth typing that), career high in goals from Anders Lee, and a point a game pace from John Tavares.

It's uncommon for teams to miss the playoffs with one point per game player on its roster. It's almost unheard of for a team to miss the playoffs with TWO point per game players on its roster. That's a special kind of tire fire, one I'm not sure we've ever seen the likes of before. There is no joy in such. Only tears, used to mix the most bitter flavor of #IslesKoolAid - Draft Day Dragon Fruit.

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Back in November, #IslesKoolAid was Stanley Cup Strawberry. Now...

Here's another way Garth Snow ruined the Islanders season. Coming down to the trading deadline, Garth recognized that a team giving up 50 shots a night may need some help on defense, so he allegedly reached out to the Rangers to see if he could get in on the Papa John's promotion at MSG, then let the talk turn to hockey.

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Snow allegedly asked for Rangers Captain Ryan McDonagh in a trade to give relief to his worn down defensive corps. He promptly learned that after spending years playing with the Rangers, McDonagh viewed the Islanders with such contempt that he placed the team on his no trade list. Not because the Islanders were rivals; because he's spent years watching Garth be Garth and wanted to part of that trailer park tornado of an organization.

Even with new owners and a new arena being built, people still look at Garth Snow and think "Loser."

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Another reason that Garth took the joy out of beating the Rangers in this final matchup is that the Rangers are awful. It's not like this was the 1980's when the Isles were the annual roadblock to the Rangers lifting a Stanley Cup, or the late 90's when the Isles were fielding high school quality teams, making a win against the Rags so savory.

And yes, I know that as I'm writing this the Rangers are ahead of the Islanders in the standings. Does anyone that watches hockey think that player for player the Rangers are the better team? This is a Rangers team auditioning teenagers for jobs next year. There's my analysis of the Rangers. Bad.

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Scratched into the walls of the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum

But the root problem with this Islanders team was the lack of coaching search Snow did last season- why work?- when promoting awful power play coach Doug Weight to head coach. Did Weight have an exciting run last year? Sure. Did Weight's teams suffer many blowout losses as well? Gotta take the good with the bad, folks.

And did Weight's teams start the year on fire? Yup. A good 6 weeks worth of games building to that #IslesKoolAid Thanksgiving Stanley Cup, only to have been outperformed by Buffalo and Arizona since December 1. Have you seen the rosters in Buffalo and Arizona? Name a starter. I dare you.

The worst part of it all is that if Snow is involved with roster decisions going forward, the Rangers will make the playoffs before the Islanders return to the postseason. Because Garth Snow ruins everything. Name another GM that's been kicked out of two professional arenas?

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#IslesKoolAid Nation, April 2018

With all of that in your head, how can you enjoy this last victory over the Rangers this season?

And yes, I'm predicting an Islanders victory. Here's why:

1) the Islanders are the better team talentwise, and this is a game they can "get up" for, not like some game where they're playing to stay in a post season race or to try to convince their best player in a generation to stay.

2) the Barclays will be sold out with a mix of Islanders and Rangers fans making noise. And as Islander fans know, Doug Weight has been known to blame fans not cheering for his underperformances. Just like his boss blamed a guy injured in the AHL on ruining the Islanders playoff chances.

3) Henrik Lundqvist will get a day off in a meaningless game.

4) Who are the Rangers forwards?

5) John Tavares will score a goal, because that's what John Tavares does against the Rangers.

And in honor of our new friends over at Statement Games (www.Statementgames.com) here are my three locks for the game:

- Matthew Barzal will have over 1.5 points

- The line of Tavares- Lee- X will be over 2.5 points

- Nick Leddy will be below even in plus/minus